the final porkdown.

Yesterday I bade pork farewell with my pen; today I did it with my lips, as well as the rest of my mouth. I didn't mean to, I thought we'd already said our goodbyes (see yesterday's post), but as fate would have it, Mara and I cycled past a very American-looking place (in a good way) called The Taco Shop, and as we glided past, she said over her shoulder, "It's supposed to be really good."

I was like, "Then why don't I know about it?" I pulled over and looked at the menu posted outside: tacos, burritos, chimichangas, guac...interesting, interesting. The thing that sold me on its potential authenticity more than the menu or anything else was the paint job and the general look of the place, total California surf shack. Hmm.

But Mark, it was just yesterday that you said you were through with the stuff, wasn't it dude? C'mon, man...lay off the pig. C'mon.

I am through with it, ok? Look, I've got a bag full of tofu and tempeh and fresh turmeric and leafy Chinese greens right here to prove it. I even have rice flour, for God's sake, and I have no idea how to work with the stuff. You c'mon. I'm serious about going vegetarian, really I am. I just need one last moment alone, just the two of us. Me, and pork. It won't take a second.


I'm totally grossing myself out. Bottom line: this is a real burrito. Amsterdam's only real burrito. I kinda knew it would be when I went in and was greeted by an American behind the kitchen counter. In English. Kind of a funny twist on the "they don't speak any English here, it must be the real thing" phenomenon we're used to in the States.

And it's above-average, as burritos go. Not my absolute favorite style: I'm a whole-bean man myself (these are refried), I prefer fresh green chiles to canned, and I like a little cilantro in my burrito if there's not going to be much in the salsa, etc. But I bet they'd be happy to put anything in there that they had on hand if you wanted.

The contents of their salsa verde burrito included: pork in a mild green chile sauce; fresh tomatoes; a mild white cheese that I forgot to try and identify by itself (there could even have been two kinds of cheese, I was blinded by hunger at this point); canned jalapenos; lettuce; and refried beans. Their smooth (vs. chunky-style) red salsa that came with it was completely serviceable, authentically Tex-Mex. Again, light on the heat and the herbs, but I understand why. The pork itself was done nicely.

: This can be Amsterdam's only real burrito if you order carefully. I only tried the non-"smothered" green chile burrito with no bells or whistles. Mara was unfortunate enough to go without me and was somehow talked into "smothering" her burrito, which means extra cheese and a ranchero sauce. Needless to say, this changes the burrito rather dramatically, and not for the better. The photos you see here are of my merely "threatened" burrito...I just poured the salsa that came with it over top of it, so the burrito could get a feel for what could happen if I got pissed off and decided to smother the damn thing. To sum: don't smother your burrito and you'll be alright.

: This isn't Mexican food, it's Tex-Mex mostly, influenced by direct contact with Mexican-American food but not generated by Mexicans. And there are some oddities: they use ground beef in their beef quesadillas and burrtios, and this I've never seen before and don't really want to, sorry guys.

Somehow The Taco Shop has been here 2 years without my burrito detector going off: must be time to change the batteries (but aren't they supposed to make some sort of sound to let you know the batteries are dead?)...anyway, this place is good news for everyone in Amsterdam except me.

Enjoy. I've got to go marinate some tofu.


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